Star Trek: Deep Space Nine debuted in first-run syndication the week of January 4, 1993, with a two-hour pilot entitled "Emissary." It was -- especially compared to The Next Generation -- the dark Trek, a gritty, angry, contentious spin on Gene Roddenberry’s Wagon Train to the Stars concept. Characters who disliked each other? A commander who didn’t want to be there? Who had a young child on board with him? A space station that boldly went… nowhere? Is this even Star Trek at all?

Twenty years on, it’s safe to say, the answer is YES.

For many fans, DS9 is their absolute favorite of the five live-action Trek series. Others appreciate it more now in retrospect, as it grew on them over time. And, yes, there are those Trek fans who, to this day, still despise the show. It’s why, as they say, Baskin-Robbins serves 31wonderful flavors; everyone enjoys something different.

So, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of DS9, some “Emissary”-centric facts  to consider. And please feel free to comment below:

The idea for DS9, the initial kernel, came from then-Paramount Pictures boss Brandon Tartikoff, who, according to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, put the notion of “a man and a boy in space” in the ear of Rick Berman, who teamed with Michael Piller to create the show. 

Production on the pilot, “Emissary,” started on August 18, 1992.

As late as August 11, 1992, while “Emissary” was still in pre-production, Dr. Julian Bashir was named Dr. Julian Amoros.

The last series regular cast was Terry Farrell, who arrived on set after production commenced on “Emissary.” In fact, she shot her first scene on day 11.  

David Carson directed “Emissary,” and his fine work on the DS9 pilot won him the coveted opportunity to helm Star Trek Generations.

Patrick Stewart was billed as Special Guest Star, playing Captain Picard/Locutus.

DS9 boasted the largest and best ensemble of recurring guest stars of any Trek series. “Emissary” introduced Marc Alaimo as Gul Dukat, Aron Eisenberg as Nog, and the uncredited Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn, while Max Grodenchik portrayed a character credited as Ferengi Pit Boss and John Noah Hertzler (who came to be known as J.G. Hertzler) appeared as the Vulcan Captain. Later, of course, fans were introduced to such frequent returnees as Jeffrey Combs, Andrew Robinson, Casey Biggs, Chase Masterson, Penny Johnson, Barry Jenner, Salome Jens, Wallace Shawn, Robert O’Reilly, Brock Peters, Louise Fletcher, Frank Langella and Rosalind Chao, among others.

In the Air Date Schedule provided to the media by Paramount in advance of DS9’s debut, “Emissary” was referred to as Episode #721, with the pilot to be delivered to stations on December 23, 1992. Later, when the pilot was repeated on March 1 and 8, 1993, it was split in half and referred to as “Emissary Pt. I (#401)” and “Emissary Pt. II (#402).”

The official “Emissary” press material provided to the media suggested that newspapers, radio stations, TV publications, etc., introduce the series as follows:


STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE: “Emissary” – On a distant outpost at the edge of the final frontier, an untested crew embarks on an unprecedented journey in the two-hour series premiere of STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE.”



At the edge of the final frontier for an untested crew to being an unprecedented journey.


Tonight, the wait is over. STAR TEK: DEEP SPACE NINE Series Premiere!

“Emissary” notched 18.8 percent of the syndicated audience, according to the Deep Space Nine Companion, and ranked #1 in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C., all major markets.

“Emissary” received Emmy Award nominations in the Outstanding Art Direction, Outstanding Sound Mixing, Outstanding Sound Editing and Outstanding Special Visual Effects categories. It won for Outstanding Art Direction, with the award shared by Herman Zimmerman, Randall McIlvain and Mickey S. Michaels.


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